Boss Lady is a series by Social Stylate that shares personal insights from creative women in business. Recently we talked to Nicole Franzen, a self-taught food, lifestyle and travel photographer. After more than a decade traveling the world in the restaurant industry, Nicole decided to switch gears and took a leap of faith to channel her passions through photography. We are so glad she did!
Tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Nicole and I am a Brooklyn-based photographer. I grew up working in the restaurant industry and did so for 13 years. I spent the early part of my years in a small town in northern New Mexico called Taos. A real artist community in the high desert. At age 17 I packed my bags in search of adventure and landed in St. John in the Virgin Islands. I then continued on traveling and went to Buenos Aires, Argentina where I spent 7 months before coming to NYC in 2007. Photography was always a huge part of my life. Capturing life’s moments was something I always cherished.
How did you make the decision to be a self-employed photographer?
Like I mentioned above, 13 years in the restaurant industry will make you crazy and in desperate search for something better. I knew I was super creative and this wasn’t all I had to offer. While I have a real love/hate relationship with restaurants, I would never take it back. It taught me super valuable tools that I will use throughout my life. When I finally decided I wanted to do photography for a living, I devoted all my time to it. When you’re a photographer you cant stop taking pictures. You breath it. Eventually you start to get good (you hope). I guess that caught on, using my blog as a platform to expose my work. I could not of been happier to take the leap into self employment.
In regards to obtaining new clients, what is your most successful form of marketing?
That’s an interesting question, I would have to say that the social media media world has helped a ton. Its never been easier to share work. Which has both its disadvantages and advantages. I am most commonly getting my clients based on recommendations and social media portals. Most commonly I hear “I see your work everywhere.”
What inspires you and fuels your creativity?
Everything. This question is commonly asked and it comes from so many places. When you are a creative/sensitive person you are inspired by all thats around. Be it other artists, nature, the weather, places, etc. We take the time to look at everything, soaking it all in. That always reflects in our work and fuels us to keep moving forward. For me its anything from a color palette, a painting, a flower, a person I saw in the street.
What advice do you have for those looking to be their own boss?
You do need to have a certain level of discipline, organizational skills and be good at time management. I see and hear most people struggle with time. Working hard or working smart? I have found for a good balance of everything setting aside a certain amount of time per day for each task really helps. This applies to home life as well. If you pick up things around your house for 10 minutes everyday it wont become a mess thats too big to handle. Breaking tasks down into small fractions of time makes it all more attainable and productive. Obviously when you are swamped your are swamped but there are things you can do to stay on top of your game.
Just for fun…
Favorite subject to shoot: Travel
Cocktail of choice: Fernet and coke, negroni or americano
All time favorite movie: Tough! I am a total sop for my rom-coms and a huge Meryl Streep fan. “It’s Complicated” is one of my favs.